Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mommy Advice Needed!

Knowing that most of you are moms, what better place to come for some parenting advice?  My problem is with electronics.  Recently, I feel like my kids (ages 10, 7, and almost 4) are constantly on the computer, TV, or Kindle Fire.


We had this problem several years ago and I turned off the TV for about a year.  When we didn't have TV, I saw the girls engaged in different and better activities.  My oldest read so many books and the younger ones spent more time outside.   Foolishly thinking that our TV habits had changed for the better, we started Netflix about six months ago, but still don't have cable.

During the school year, things are fine.  The girls really don't have a lot of time for TV.  The summer is a totally different story.  The problem is partially mine, I work from home, which requires me to be on the computer quite a bit.  So, I'm not a very good role model.  Electronics are also an easy babysitter.

My kids are great kids.  They are very smart, participate in athletics, and have friends.  Because of these things, my husband thinks I overreact about their electronic use.  He thinks it's totally fine and thinks I'm being irrational since they are basically good kids.   This is his attitude:

Source: dosfamily.com via steph on Pinterest


But, I'm home with them all day and see how much time they truly are spending with electronics.  I feel like it's getting to the point where they would rather be lost in the electronic world rather than doing anything else, including playing with friends or playing a game as a family.  I also think their behavior directly correlates with electronic use.  The more they watch, they worse they behave.

 I think it's time to cancel Netflix and put some serious limits on computer use.  I'm just terrible at setting limits, but I know I need to do something.  Just typing this post fills me with anxiety and gives me a stomach ache.  Letting me kids use electronics so much makes me feel like I'm failing as a parent.  Please help me!!!!  How do you handle this situation?

16 comments:

Starr @ The Kiefer Cottage said...

Don't feel like a failure. It's not like you're feeding your children mulch from the yard.

I can't really speak to what you should do. My kids love TV, but they're so little that if I turn it off, they go off to play pretend or games without complaint. As they get older and more engaged with electronics, I expect things to change, but I'm not that worried about it. Don't beat yourself up!

Holly said...

First off, 3 cheers for honesty and a brain dump. Secondly, I think about this a lot too (and Sheila isn't even 2 yet - can fully function iPhone, iPad, laptop, etc). She is at school all day while I'm at work (bleck) so when she wants to come home and do a little iPad or watch TV I'm okay with that, but we do set limits. We typically set limits on the iPad for about 15 minutes or so - but TV is a different story. She watches Fresh Beat Band all the time, but she loves the music and the dancing. She's learned her ABC's by watching Sesame Street and doing puzzles (while the TV is on of course). I go in modes where I just need the TV off, and she's okay with that. Maybe you could have "unplugged" days or something, so that you all get some quiet time, time with electronics, and work time in. We could talk about this for a while I know :) wish you lived closer.

MissAshleyLynne said...

I do not have children but my niece who is 11 lives with us. In our house we have TV always have (she was never much into the TV) but we since have gotten and Xbox and a computer she immediate took to both. She stopped playing outside with all the kids in the neighborhood. So as a family we decided 1 hour 30 min's max on the computer/Xbox together. (unless a special occasion or school work is involved) She went back to playing out side with her friends.

Aubrey {All Things Bright and Beautiful} said...

This is such a difficult issue...mine are only 3 and 5 and I can already see a trend toward being tech junkies! It terrifies me. I think mostly because I know how fantastic my summers were...and they were definitely *NOT* filled with watching TV/computer/video games...I just want them to have the same experiences! I honestly can't tell you what the answer is because we're still trying to figure it all out, too! And to be perfectly honest, it's TOO HOT to be outside in the summer in Phoenix! GAH!

Tam said...

I have four boys and they will watch as much television as we permit and then beg for more. It's mostly Netflix and usually decent stuff (yesterday there was a TED talk about genetically engineering dinosaurs) there but we did just put an access code on the tv so that we can lock it down.

I envision a point in our lives when we get rid of the tv. They don't use the computer or other devices very much yet. I don know that ANY screen time makes them cranky. We have one television in the house, in the family room, but that's also the room that they play in. It's tough to establish an absolute screen-time limit because they all want to watch different things and there are so many of them.

Also, I need it as a crutch when the little guys take naps or dinner has to be made.

Lisa at Shine Your Light said...

You are doing a great job - don't be so hard on yourself!! I have tried many things over the summers (the school year isn't an issue for us either because everyone is so busy with homework and sports). I have totally unplugged for the summer, set up time charts, had reading incentives. As my kids get older I generally let them watch TV or play video games until about 9am (sometimes none of them are even up at that time!) and then go do something active until after dinner. We watch sports, a movie, or a family friendly show like America's Got Talent, but they do watch the occasional Victorious or whatever. At their ages maybe try a no electronics rule from 9-5 or something that works for your family, and give them options for things they can do while you work.

micki @ ADD housewife said...

we limit to 30 minutes computer a day during the summer. But a friend of mine had a great idea...for every 30 minutes the kids read, they get 30 minutes of screen time.

the salvage collection said...

i feel your pain and could write the same post! my husband travels all week and is exhausted on friday night... and happy to chill with the kids and a movie. but then the tv seems to be in the background all weekend long. i rarely turn on the tv during the week and only allow the kids to watch shows with NO FLIPPIN' LAUGH TRACKS!! (the other morning, my 11 year old and i watched a documentary about how the US found bin laden. it was a great conversation starter!)

i say limit the time and then limit the shows. there are so many amazing shows that can be recorded that you won't have to feel guilty when they do watch tv b/c they will be learning something!

so far, my kids don't hate me too much!!

Tiffany @ {Living Savvy} said...

Oh this is so hard! I am in the same situation! Recently I started putting limits on the tv watching. I have had time limits on the computer and video games, but the tv is always on. They used to play while it was on, but now they just sit there! SO they get tv and computer games when they wake up and then after breakfast and gym they have to play until after their nap. they they get 30 mins and then 30 before bed with me and the hubs. It has been HARD for me to listen to the kids complain, but it is getting better and they are playing a whole lot more! Good Luck!

Maury Kilgo said...

Well props to you for handling it before it becomes an issue! I really think this is a problem across the board.

Kathryn Ferguson Griffin said...

Love your honesty! I too have been questioning whether or not my 4 year old watches too much tv. Right now, it is too hot for her to play outside until about 7pm and one of us must be out there to supervise. So, she's inside most of the day. However, she does color while she watches a movie or Nick show. That makes me feel better. And, then there are the days when we are gone all day. Don't be too hard on yourself. Would you mind sharing this post at my Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. http://thededicatedhouse.blogspot.com/2012/07/make-it-pretty-monday-week-6.html Wishing you a grand rest of the week. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

Carrie @ Hazardous Design said...

I don't have kids, but can see how this could cause you so much angst. If it makes you feel any better, I was one of those kids who grew up without any tv restrictions and I like to think I turned out okay :)
Seriously, it sounds like your kids are great. I wouldn't beat yourself up over it.

Money Saving Mom said...

As a mom that has raised two lovely daughters, Kristen 24 and Paige 21, I didn't have all of the electronics to worry about when they were young. Like you I often wondered about how much tv was too much. What I came to realize was when given the choice my girls would much rather participate in an activity with me or each other than zone out in front of the tv. Give your children the chance to choose and praise them generously when they make a good choice. As parents we get so caught up in our busy lives that we sometimes forget to catch our children being good. Lastly, not wanting to sound harsh here, but who is buying all of these fun gadgets? If the temptations aren't accessible then the problem is eleminated. Parenting doesn't come with instructions, but trust your instincts and things will work out just fine. Keep up the good work.

natasha {schue love} said...

Gosh, I feel like this is definitely a challenge for kids these days! Do electronics stunt creativity and the imagination? So hard to know! But you're already doing the right thing by asking these questions and being concerned. Life is all about balance...you're doing an awesome job! :)

heronkady said...

I love your blog!
Saving Thousands of People Hundreds of Dollars a month. Join the club today. Just click -> http://www.saversclub.us

Blogger said...

I made $20 for a 20 minute survey!

Guess what? This is exactly what large companies are paying me for. They need to know what their customer needs and wants. So big companies pay $1,000,000's of dollars per month to the average person. In return, the average person, myself included, participates in surveys and gives them their opinion.